The Grey Menace remained a proud, loud, and strutting tomcat well into his ninth year. With the dark grey rings in his fur, he was the Ring-Tail Tom of the old folksong. But, while, to the best of my knowledge, I sowed no wild oats, the same cannot be said for him.
His erogenous activities were limited to our physical locations. So the genetic composition of cats in Massachusetts, parts of Coastal Maine, and Philadelphia probably owe much to his efforts.
The owners of several female cats visited me over the years to complain about the activities of the Grey Menace. In one case, the owner of a pregnant tabby attempted to impose the near-term darling onto the household of the putative father. So we pretended not to be home. Fortunately, I was never requested to furnish fiscal support for his efforts at diversifying the gene pool.
He was particular in his choice and often repetitive in his selection of mates. On Beacon Hill, the bodacious Samantha had several litters of lovely kittens with him. But, at last, at age nine, I felt that his efforts to outbreed Genghis Khan were going too far and had him nipped. Nipping seemed to stop him in his tracks for several months. But then, as if he were benefiting from consequence-free sex, His visits to his girlfriends renewed. And we heard the cries of feline copulation once again behind our house.
I regularly played the song Ring Tailed Tom, and while I can’t be sure I do think that when I played the song he thought I was singing about him:
I got an old tomcat
When he steps out
All the pussycats in the neighborhood
They begin to shout
“Here comes Ring Tail Tom
He’s boss around the town
And if you got your heat turned up
You better turn your damper down.”
Ring Tail Tom on a fence
The old pussy cat on the ground
Ring Tail Tom, come off that fence
And they went ’round and ’round
Lord, he’s quick on the trigger.
He’s a natural-born crack shot
He got a new target every night
And he sure does practice a lot
He makes them roustabout.
He makes them roll their eyes
They can’t resist my Ring Tail Tom
No matter how hard they try
You better watch old Ring Tail Tom.
He’s running around the town
He won’t have no pussy cats
Come a-tomcattin’ around
Ring Tail Tom is the stuff.
He’s always running around
All the pussy cats in the neighborhood
Can’t get old Ring Tail Tom down
He’s always running around.
Just can’t be satisfied.
He goes out every night
With a new one by his side